Engineer and inventor Clement Mokoenene has won the South African leg of the Chivas Venture IV competition, walking away with R350 000. Mokoenene was selected ahead of four other social entrepreneurs for his electricity generation solution, the Vehicle Energy Harvesting System. (VEHS). For more details on this topic see the IDTechEx report on electrically smart roads.
The winner will now attend a week-long accelerator programme at Oxford University. Thereafter, in May, he will represent South Africa at the global finale of the Chivas Venture 2018 in Amsterdam, where he will compete against 28 other entrants for a share of US$1-million.
"Mokoenene's very clever lateral thinking drew a connection between road pressure, aeroplanes and electricity generation won him a R350 000 boost for his business when he was chosen as the South African winner," said one of the judges.
Mokenee explained his innovative idea which started in 2011 when he saw the impact on a runway of an A380 Airbus landing, "That got me thinking about the pressure and heat a plane puts on the runway, and from there I looked at our roads and the potholes which are a clear indication of how much pressure they are under."
This led him to consider how this pressure could be harvested to generate electricity.
He explained that his Vehicle Energy Harvesting System, VEHS is, "installing an overlay on an existing road,extracting the pressure and transferring it to the side of the road, similar to a wind turbine that then creates electricity."
The inventor claims the system generates electricity at a much lower, affordable price than 90% of South African energy — which is generated in coal-fired power stations and has a huge environmental cost.
Mokoenene is thrilled to attend the event later this year, "Excited doesn't even begin to describe how I am feeling right now, this is such an amazing opportunity, and I know I will do South Africa proud."
Source and top image: Chivas Regal